Reality, Identity and Satire in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall

Prior to joining forces with Joe Eszterhas to develop subversive, erotic thriller Basic Instinct in the early 90s, Paul Verhoeven would follow up his dystopian masterclass Robocop with a similarly subversive sci-fi extravaganza.

In theory, Total Recall would be a big budget sci-fi action vehicle starring former Pumping Iron alumni and future Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. In practice, however, Verhoeven would once again manage to create a blockbuster movie loaded with his own inimitable brand of humorous contempt, while also providing the sort of rollicking adventure yarn studio execs could happily support […]

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Memoirs of An Invisible Man (1992)

In the early 90s, John Carpenter, after a break from filmmaking following the commercial ambivalence indie productions Prince of Darkness and They Live were met with in cinemas, decided to take a punt on directing a studio flick again.

The film, Carpenter’s first studio effort since the mid-eighties, was a mainstream Hollywood movie, produced by Chevy Chase, which the actor was using to springboard into drama. Chase wanted the film to have a solemn flavour. So he brought in gun-for-hire John Carpenter to direct, who was hired in the wake of Ivan Reitman, who reportedly disagreed with Chase on what the tone of the film should be […]

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War In Perpetuity: Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers

In a conversation with Little White Lies in 2017, Paul Verhoeven accused Hollywood of treating the general cinema- going public like idiots. ‘Hollywood thinks audiences are stupid’, he was quoted as saying during a promotional interview for controversial 2016 Isabelle Huppert starrer Elle.

The provocative Dutch director, responsible, arguably, for single-handedly reinvigorating the cinematic respectability of his home nation with auteur productions such as Turkish Delight and The 4th Man, left the Netherlands to work in America due to the backlash […]

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I’d Buy that for a Dollar: Robocop and the Pursuit of the American Dream

Robocop was something of a baptism of fire for filmmaker Paul Verhoeven.

Before making the switch to Hollywood in search of The American Dream, the Dutch director was known for arthouse projects that were very much grounded in reality, and in many ways his debut US production is the very antithesis of all that went before. That’s not surprising given the fact that the movie’s protagonist is a half man, half machine with a spectacularly gaudy 80s costume design, but the overtly comic tone was somewhat determined by outside forces […]

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